No. 3: Mac-Hi three-peats

Mac-Hi's Guillermo Carvajal dribbles in the Pioneers' playoff win over Sisters in November. EO?file photo

Many of the seniors for the Mac-Hi boys' soccer team probably do not recall the first time they hoisted the state trophy. As only sophomores, many were sitting behind a large group of upperclassmen, biding their time.

Fast forward two years and now, with three titles under their belt, the Pioneers have done something special. This was the one that several key players like Osvaldo Martinez and Esteban Salazar will remember the fondest.

In 2006 the Pioneers blazed through the regular and post seasons, carrying an undefeated record into this year. But they would have no such luck in 2007.

Injury and inconsistency plagued Mac-Hi throughout most of the season. With two losses and two ties, the unbeatable Pioneers suddenly looked mortal.

That notion was quickly dispelled in the playoffs, though, as the senior heavy Pioneers used their vast experience to shut out Sisters and La Salle - the team they had beat to win the title the two previous seasons - in back-to-back contests.

After dispatching Hidden Valley in the semifinals, they had only the Gladstone Gladiators to beat to earn a third state title, the second in Class 4A. Both teams were well matched and throughout most of the first half, neither team could get an edge.

In the waning moments of the opening period, though, Mac-Hi's Christian Corona found a crease and punched the ball into the net for the game's only goal.

It was a shock to not only the Gladiators that a freshman had dealt them the deathblow, but to the largely experienced Pioneers as well.

The result was an opportunity for the well-traveled seniors to go out on top, and for the youngsters waiting in the wings, a chance to build on a dynasty.

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